In our annual 32-part Summer Sleeper series, DLF scribes identify a lightly-touted player on each NFL roster who may be worthy of your consideration. Our subjects all have varying levels of “sleeperness,” but each merits a bit of in-depth discussion.
To help everybody along, we are going to be categorizing our sleepers under one of three headings:
Super Deep Sleepers – Players who aren’t roster-worthy in 12-team leagues, but are still worth keeping an eye on.
Deep Sleepers – An end-of-the-roster player who is more often than not on the waiver wire in 12-team leagues.
Sleeper – A likely rostered player who makes for a good trade target. Their startup ADP puts them out of the top 175 or so.
Because we aren’t going to give you the likes of mainstream sleepers, most of these players will undoubtedly fizzle. All we are asking is for you to keep an open mind and perhaps be willing to make room for one of these players on your bench. You never know when the next Adam Thielen or James Robinson is going to spring up. Feel free to add your own thoughts about our choice for the designated sleeper, or nominate one of your own in the comments below.
The Bears had a quiet off-season. They were faced with a challenging cap sheet and the lack of a first-round pick following their trade-up for Justin Fields in 2021. They decided to stand pat in 2022 and not make any aggressive moves, preferring to keep their powder dry for the 2023 off-season.
In not making any significant moves, the list of Bears players currently on the dynasty radar isn’t exactly long. However, with a sophomore quarterback who could take the next step, there could well be some hidden gem sleepers ready to breakout.
Byron Pringle, WR
Category: Deep Sleeper
As a 25-year-old rookie with some criminal red flags and limited college production, Pringle wasn’t precisely highly sought after heading into the draft. He proceeded to go undrafted out of college and landed on the Chiefs.
Pringle began to carve out a role immediately as a key special-teamer, logging over 300 special teams snaps in his rookie year. While still an impact player on special teams in both the punt and kick return game, his usage on the coverage teams reduced significantly as he began to see an increase in snaps on offense. In his final season with the Chiefs, he was playing just shy of 50% of the snaps as the team’s WR3, only behind Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson.
Pringle posted a useful season stat line last season and finished as the WR58 despite being the fourth most targetted player on the team. He produced over eight fantasy points in seven of his seventeen weeks. That’s not exactly anything to get too excited about when you consider he was the fourth target is competent.
If you look deeper, some more impressive stats complement the small sample size. Pringle posted the third-highest quarterback passer rating when targeted (135.5), and secured a first down on 70.4% of his receptions, a top-12 mark in the league. Good things happened when he was targeted.
After his move to the Bears in free agency, it’s safe to say Pringle is now facing a much-improved situation in terms of target competition. Outside of Darnell Mooney, the names of significance are 2022 third-round pick Velus Jones, N’Keal Harry – who has just arrived from the Patriots via trade – and journeymen Equanimeous St. Brown and Dante Pettis. Yes, the potential break out of young tight end Cole Kmet will provide some target competition. But it’s much less than Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, et al.
Pringle signed a one-year $4.25m contract with $3.9m guaranteed. As I said earlier, the Bears weren’t in a flush cap situation, so that was a significant commitment. Compare it to other veteran wide receivers who signed one-year deals in free agency:
- Jarvis Landry – $3m
- Sammy Watkins – $1.85m
- AJ Green – $3.5m
- Jamison Crowder – $2m
- JuJu Smith-Schuster – $3.25m
Now you could look at those deals compared to the Pringle deal in one of two ways. One: the Bears made Pringle a priority and expect him to make an impact this year. Two: the Bears had to pay a premium compared to the rest of the teams, who were all contenders.
I view it as probably somewhere in the middle. The Bears view Pringle as a cheap one-year flyer who could improve the weapons for Justin Fields while not destroying their 2023 cap space and because they’re not a contender, they had to pay a slight premium to secure his services.
Pringle has never proven to be a reliable fantasy option. So projecting him to break out is precisely that projection. The Bears are unlikely to be a top fantasy producer and, therefore, may struggle to support more than a few fantasy-relevant options. David Montgomery, Darnell Mooney, and Cole Kmet are ahead of Pringle in the pecking order.
There is also a significant question mark for Fields. Will he take the sophomore leap and improve on an underwhelming rookie season? Or will he fail to produce off the back of the talent he has shown? Whether or not Fields takes that leap will likely impact whether or not Pringle can be relevant.
Pringle becoming a fantasy star is unlikely. However, that is precisely why he is a deep sleeper, and his ADP is significantly reduced. Should he step up into a more significant role within the offense, he could easily find his way to produce a WR3/4 season. It’s not going to be a league-winning performance, but he could efficiently work his way into flex consideration at his current price. He will likely be the Bears’ WR2 all season, and a good performance in another contract year could lead to him finding an even better situation in 2023.
Currently going 275th overall and WR115 in DLF June ADP, it is likely that Pringle will be on the waiver wire in most of your leagues. Realistically you may be able to tempt him away for the GM who rosters him for as little as a fourth-round pick or some bench fodder in most leagues.
- 2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: Chicago Bears - July 28, 2022
- 2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: Houston Texans - July 21, 2022
- 2022 Dynasty Fantasy Football Summer Sleeper: Atlanta Falcons - July 4, 2022